The long-awaited/long-belated, sequel to 1987’s Predator and its 1990 sequel, The Predator is the fourth entry in the franchise and is the second attempt at reviving the Predator franchise after 2010’s Predators ended up becoming, at best, a solid admirable failure. This time, it is original Predator co-star Shane Black who has taken over as director and co-writer alongside his friend and co-writing collaborator Fred Dekker (who also worked together on the brilliant Monster Squad). Together, both Black & Dekker (see what I did there!) aimed to breathe new life into the franchise, to take it to new peaks and hoped that it would spawn at least two sequels. Well, all those hopes and dreams are completely shattered since none of that came to pass and what we got instead was a misguided, poorly-edited hodgepodge that was tonally inconsistent and was profoundly stupid in every way possible.
This is a very baggy film, disjointed and sprawling, cutting from one scene to the next with no cohesion or fluidity, resulting in some of the worst editing seen in recent years. There were apparently extensive reshoots that had taken place a few months after production wrapped and whole characters and plotlines had to be removed, which is evident in the film’s choppy execution, even though keeping the original footage wouldn’t have helped matters in the slightest. The finished “story” we end up with commits the biggest crime it could’ve committed in that it was so unbelievably and profoundly stupid in every possible way, including ridiculous stuff like a giant Ultimate Predator and Predator dogs (just as bad if not worse than the Hulk dogs in 2003’s Hulk).
It’s astounding to think that Black & Dekker thought this would be great for restarting the Predator franchise, and its choppiness is reflective, not just of the story, but also in its tone. Black & Dekker’s Predator eschews the suspense with humour and quirkiness, and while that worked out brilliantly in The Nice Guys, it completely ruins the experience here. Even the ensemble cast here aren’t fun, with the main ragtag group of loonies coming across like a bunch of clowns that won’t shut up and every line that comes out of their mouths was aggravating. It’s a shame that the talent they brought were given a bad script and truly garbage dialogue to work with. Olivia Munn was the only bright spot to be found, giving a surprisingly solid performance as the reluctant scientist that gets drafted into this Predator mission, but even she’s not enough to save this film.
It’s truly amazing how a talented production team and cast with great pedigree to them ended up making a movie that’s absolutely awful in every way imaginable, almost to the point that this didn’t truly feel like a Shane Black film, coming off more as a cobbled-together studio monstrosity than anything else. It’s easily the worst in the Predator series and actually makes the first Alien Vs. Predator look like the like a great film!
Dir: Shane Black
Scr: Shane Black, Fred Dekker
Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Sterling K. Brown, Augusto Aguilera, Yvonne Strahovski
Prd: John Davis
DOP: Larry Fong
Music: Henry Jackman
Run time: 107 mins
The Predator is out on Digital now and available on Blu-Ray and DVD from 28th Jan 2019.